United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres took to Twitter to urge Taliban authorities in Afghanistan to revoke the ban on girls’ education that was implemented a year ago.
He said, “Sunday marks one year since girls were banned from attending high school in Afghanistan. A year of lost knowledge and opportunity that they will never get back. Girls belong in school. The Taliban must let them back in.”
“It is profoundly damaging to a generation of girls and to the future of Afghanistan itself”, said Markus Potzel, the acting head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). The UN has called the ban ‘tragic and shameful.
According to UNAMA, more than a million teenage girls have been deprived of education across the county.
Earlier this month, dozens of girls protested in an eastern Afghan city due to the closure of schools for girls.
When the Taliban seized power in August last year, they did reopen high schools for boys on September 18 but banned secondary school girls from attending classes.
Education Minister Noorullah Munir termed this act a “cultural issue”. He said that many rural people do not want their teenage daughters to attend school.
Earlier this year, the Taliban said that schools for girls would be opened after March 21 with the caveat that girls and boys must be completely segregated in schools
However, schools were opened for a small period of time and again were shut down
At the time, the Ministry of Education said that the schools would be closed until a plan was drawn up in accordance with Islamic law and Afghan culture.
Despite the fact that the international community has on multiple occasions made the education of girls a key demand for any future recognition of the Taliban administration, the group has barred Afghan girls and women with certain restrictions including covering themselves from head to toe and not to travelling alone.